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Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy

"Helping You, Help Yourself"

Forensic Services 2017-10-13T19:49:11+00:00

FORENSIC SERVICES

Expert Witness in Use of Deadly Force in Self Defense Cases

In cases involving use of deadly force, there is often specialized information that needs to be conveyed to the jury. Without this specialized information the jury may render an erroneous verdict. My credentials in the judicious use of deadly force allow me to convey this information to a jury in a way that they can comprehend and then use as part of their deliberations.

Use of Force/Deadly Force

The law does permit the use of force and deadly force, however, there are certain criteria under which you can use it. Deadly force is that degree of force that a reasonable and prudent person recognizes as capable of causing death or grave bodily harm. It is permissible to use deadly force when in immediate, unavoidable danger of death or grave bodily harm to the innocent (which includes self and others). There are three criteria that you need to articulate your actions and they are (1) Ability, (2) Opportunity, and (3) Jeopardy on the part of the initial aggressor/attacker.

Pistol License Psychological Evaluations and Re-evaluation

If your pistol license was suspended or revoked due to psychological, emotional or medical reasons, an independent evaluation can be used to challenge this decision and get your pistol license restored.

Officer/Candidate Psychological Re-evaluation

Independent psychological evaluation to challenge a failed departmental evaluation. If you don’t challenge it, it may be perceived by another department as a tacit agreement with the original finding.

Law Enforcement Fitness for Duty

Law enforcement officials who have been put “behind a desk” due to their involvement in a psychological, emotional, medical or Officer Involved Shooting (OIS), require a psychological evaluation before they can be reinstated to patrol.

Utilizing situational awareness, we can avoid potentially dangerous situations by paying attention to pre-incident indicators that could reasonably predict the potential for danger. People can be taught to recognize pre-incident indicators which will increase their situational awareness.Threat Assessment/Threat Avoidance

During a deadly force encounter, certain perceptual distortions may come into play. For example, these include but are not limited to:

  • Tunnel vision: cortical perception of diminished peripheral vision and intense forward focus.
  • Auditory exclusion: cortical process whereby sound is perceived at lower decibel levels than is actually the case.
  • Tachypsychia (“speed of the mind”): perceptual distortion that time is slowing.
  • Cognitive dissonance: general confusion, also, when recalling an incident the temporal sequence of events is out of actual chronological order.

When these phenomena are not taken into consideration, you can be perceived as a liar, when in reality you are recalling the incident based on perceptual distortions stipulated in a “mental fog.” It takes 30 seconds to encode from short-term into long-term memory. Some incidents occur so quickly that you cannot remember all the aspects, therefore your mind will fill in the missing memory gaps with information that could connect it back but may be factually incorrect.

In a deadly force encounter, perceptual distortions may or may not occur. However, if they do occur and you are aware of them, you may recognize that you are experiencing one or more distortions, not be as distracted by them and follow through on your course of action. In addition, during the After Action Report (AAR) when recalling the event to investigators, you can improve the factual quality of your perception of the encounter.

After Action Report

In a “self-defense” encounter where deadly force was used, an account of what occurred will need to be obtained by law enforcement. The information you provide to the investigating officers at the time of the event, can and will be used against you in a court of law. As such, the information that you provide needs to be presented to preserve the integrity of the self-defense claim and to maintain your “mantle of innocence.” The information you provide could preclude your use of the defense of self-defense.

Because of the host of psychophysiological and emotional factors that take place during a deadly force encounter, and a lack of knowledge about those factors, many have fallen into the “integrity-trap.” You may be portrayed as a liar, when in fact, you simply did not know the answer.

There is a protocol in providing information in a self-defense encounter where deadly force was used.